27 February 2008

Geek gets prepared for school

I decided yesterday to prepare for today's classes, like this page (which I printed and hung above my bed many years ago) advices to do. The task wasn't hard, as I have only two: concurrent programming and computer networks.

I started with networks. There was a lecture yesterday, which I did not attend (still busy with the stuff from the first semester), so I checked the lecture's page to see what had been done. 404. So, as the page wasn't set up yet, there was nothing I could do. I was done with networks.

Moved on to concurrent programming. The thing with this class is that it has both a lab and an exam and I tried both last year but failed the exam. Fortunately, I'm done with the lab. So, I opened my notebook and looked for the second class. It was an introduction to asynchronous communication. Easy. I decided to skip this class. But, does this mean I would go to school for only one class? No way, I can learn those networks by myself.

So, in ten minutes, I was prepared. Plus, I'm free today! (Well, not really free, as I still have a lot to do and I'll have to go back to those networks.) Bottom line: always prepare for school the day before.

26 February 2008

Google Summer of Code 2008 is on!

Google Summer of Code 2008 is on!

Time to find a project idea and a mentor.(Time = 4 weeks)

If anyone has any ideas involving cryptography, error-correcting codes, AI, Arabic, web programming and stuff, let me know! I wanna spend the summer coding in the sunshine...

On my wishlist: Nokia Morph

I try to stay away from all the gadget mania. I hate marketing and I'm the last person to buy that new extra hot and fashionable cell phone just because everyone does so and some people in marketing tell us to do so. But marketing is another topic.

Today, a gadget that I have to have: the Nokia Morph.
It's so geek, so cute, so shiny, so cool and everything. They don't even have something that cool on Star Trek!

It's not only cool, but also very practical, especially for a woman. Being a woman, even a geek one, you always need to carry a purse because you always [may] need the following:

  1. money
  2. season tickets
  3. cell phone
  4. make-up
But, how often do I go out and wish I didn't have to watch my bag? And when I go out, I often wear a dress, so no pockets available. However, with this gadget, great times are coming, as you can wear it as a bracelet:
So, what does a girl still have to carry? Money - let's count on the boyfriend for this one. Season tickets - right now they can be registered in a card, so why not in a cell phone (or card I'd put in the phone)? Cell phone - let it be a bracelet! So it's just the make-up. How about a make-up palette in a box made with the same technology (so as a bracelet for the other hand)?

Oh yeah, great times are coming. As soon as this beautiful baby comes out and I can afford it.

[Source, pictures credit, more pictures]

22 February 2008


I've been getting quite frustrated lately over my lack of money. So, here are some thoughts about all the material stuff around that have come to my mind as a result.

First, I needed a solution to my problem. I saw two:

  1. get money
  2. get over it.
Number one. Asking parents was done a few months ago with a positive effect and I feel I can't really ask for more right now. Getting a job is a wider subject. I am considering it, but I have quite a bit of work at school and the only useful thing I can do right now is coding in php (or C, which I hate). Staying at home for a few more months and learning something like ASP (or Java) would get me a salary 3 times higher, so doesn't investing a little bit more time in education seem reasonable?

Number two doesn't exclude number one and can do wonders. First question: what do I intend to by and what do I really need?
  1. A good mascara and a good blush. These would actually better wait a bit, like until I get a job and show my face to someone. The products I own are good enough for my couple of hours long trips to school.
  2. Well fitting jeans. I brought some recently. My choice was very limited by my budget, but I found some. And besides, any skirt or dress looks better, so I don't need many pairs of jeans.
  3. Some comfy pants for yoga. I found these among my stuff before I had the opportunity to buy some - isn't that way better?
  4. Radiohead CDs, because I've heard they have great lyrics. These can wait a bit too, and in the meantime, I can listen to them on-line. This applies to other positions on my "music to get" list (Bowling for Soup, Three Days Grace...)
  5. Some beads and stuff to make my own jewelry. Cool and way cheaper than actual jewelry, but I don't have time for crafting right now anyway. Again, can wait.
The conclusion is pretty obvious: I've got everything I need! This one has lead me further: for me, "hunger" means "move your butt downstairs to the kitchen", "no electricity" means "they'll fix it in a couple of hours, take your laptop to school or Boyfriend's office meanwhile". So let's take a while to appreciate all those things we've got and take for granted.

Okay, I'm slowly getting over it. I still know in the back of my head that I'm in IT and money-wise, great times will come soon. Just be a bit patient.

Besides thinking, I like reading sites with good advice, like Life Hacker (although they really abuse of the term "hacking") and Zen Habits and one day, I came across Oprah's organizing tips and among them, an article called "the urge to purge". In the article, the following advice:
"You should own nothing that is not useful, beautiful, or loved."

Sound simple and smart. But my question is: why do we own things that aren't any of the three above? Okay, there are all the mistaken gifts and free samples, but when we buy something, how do we know it's not going to fail that test? How soon until it does? No easy answers here. I got an idea, though. I try to postpone all my purchases (well, not shower gel, but you get the idea). I try living without the thing and see how it goes. Some things have been dumped and I don't even remember what they were - these are unnecessary expenses avoided!

Feel like reading more on the subject? Penelope Trunk has an interesting article, "5 steps to taming materialism, from an accidental expert", that really gives a lot to think about. My favourite part is the one about moving and having to leave almost all possessions behind.

19 February 2008

School goes on.

The team project meetings have been rescheduled. Me not happy. But, that means I start at 2 p.m. on Tuesdays. Actually, I'm not sure wether I should had come to the meeting yesterday or not, but I believe that if you have any doubt whether you should go to school or not, stay home.

So I spent the morning home. I did some yoga: two sun salutations. They were hard, but I know I'll get back in shape soon. I made some chicken. I cut my hair in order to look more like a decent human being rather than a coughing and coding creature (is there a point to hiding the sad truth anyway?).

I went to school. First, a networks lecture. I am interested in networks. Since today, but I am. I am interested in security so networks knowledge is important for me. Sadly, the teacher had throat problems and only gave us some general information. 15 minutes and we were free. I went to the lab and learned some Java.

Then came my favourite subject, error correcting codes. It's the continuation of last semester's class, focused on cyclic codes. I liked the linear block codes lecture a lot and got 90% at the final exam, so it's no wonder I went for the cyclic codes as well. Huge was my disappointement when the lecture turned out to be another algebra revision! It was hard to take in the first semester, as every single student knew everything already, but twice? Why? What was I supposed to do? Turned my laptop on and played The Sims.

The next class was an introduction to LaTeX. I played Need for Speed on Xbox at my boyfriend's place.

That was a nice day. But today isn't bad either, as I went to the networks lab and was done with school for this week at noon! Now I have the whole rest of the week for quality time with operating systems (which means I'll be busy and won't be blogging my best, sorry about that).

18 February 2008

First day of school

Hello from school on the first day of the new semester.

Don't be fooled - the old one isn't exactly over yet. I am still waiting for my scores of the operating systems lab. Once you get your score, you can fix your code and send it again and get 75% of the poins. We have time untill next monday. Sure, my group will have a bit longer, as we would have to fix two assignements in a week, wich would be cruel, still, I'm not happy. I can't wait to be done with it.

Anyway, as you can see from my schedule, today is Artificial Intelligence day. First, a lecture. I overslept (as planned, the lecture notes are avaliable on-line).

10a.m., a lab. Now here's something I love about my school:

"So, I assume everyone here knows Java."

Yeah. Let's take a look at our program. First, you have "introduction to programming" and "programming methods" in Pascal. Then "object oriented programming" in SmallTalk with a bit of C++. Then "concurrent programing" and then "operating systems", both in Ansi C. Anyone sees Java on the list? (Anyone sees something that I could use in real life or that could get me a job?)

I'm learning Java.

(In parallel, there's the team project we'll be writing this semester (during the first semester we just did the documentation), in Java. We're supposed to meet on Tuesdays but the teacher is trying to reschedule it on Thursday or Fridays, violating my holy right to a 4-day week-end. Gotta fight for my right!)

Back to my day. Right now, free time, which I used to get a lunch and now I'm back at the lab (gotta learn Java). Then AI class at 2 p.m. Then groceries shopping and studying home. I let my Brother use my laptop for a presentation and I'll have it back in the evening. I wonder how I'll survive my first afternoon without it.

Can anyone recommend a good Java tutorial?

16 February 2008

Wow, 2008 OS for Nokia 770!

The Nokia 770 was born with the 2005 OS. Then came the 2006 OS. Then came the Nokia n800 with its 2007 OS and soon, a 2007 OS Hacker Edition was released for the 770. Then n800 got a new OS, the 2008 one. Here's a picture. Nice, isn't it?

Okay, enough history, hot news coming: there is now a 2008 OS for the Nokia 770! That's like "hacker hacker edition". Announcement here.

Okay, looks cool, BUT:

Extra swap memory is required to get a decent performance, the device reboots from time to time... This release is definitely not recommended to end users and not even to users depending on this device alone. We are releasing it to show how far we have gone but for us this is a proof that the Hacker Edition has reached its limit.

Okay, I'm not reflashing. It's nice to see that the geeks made it work, but I need something stable at the moment. Right now, my rs-mmc card is screwed (the 1 GB one) and I have to use a 64 MB card, which doesn't even hold 10 mp3 files. Plus the browser crashes when I try to log in to the hotspot at school (how annoying!) and I don't know how to fix it without reflashing.

The 2007HE OS is slow enough as it is. I tried to post here from bed the other day. The browser had to be the only program running. The Opera browser couldn't handle the JS Blogger is based on. The Mozilla browser was slow as hell and when after 15 minutes a guest came over, I gave up. It really is pushing this hardware to the limits.

Someday, I'm gonna get a giant new card, install both 2006 OS and 2007HE OS, extend the swap to the card and everything is going to work so great...

15 February 2008

My new schedule at school

I'm starting to feel better, crawling out of bed and slowly coming back to life. I'm not happy about having to spend my entire winter break in bed when I have so much work to do. And on Monday, school is starting again!
Anyway, here's my new schedule. Pretty nice, huh?

11 February 2008

Celebrating the World Day of the Sick

Missing me? Sorry for not blogging again, but I'm celebrating the World Day of the Sick (since Saturday!). To celebrate my cold/fever/headache/..., I'm testing my cat's way of life, which mainly consists of sleeping on the living-room couch. Man, the lazy animal is so right!

07 February 2008

Paris Hilton receives Harvard award for her Linux distribution

Seriously, did you know that Paris Hilton was an accomplished Linux Developer? This picture cannot lie:
I've read that she has released her own Linux distribution!

She is so accomplished that she received an award at Harvard today!
(What has this world come to? Paris Hilton gets a 'Woman of the Year' award at Harvard's and the Pope can't give a speech at the Rome University? )
[Sources: truth, lies]

06 February 2008

What the geek is doing

You might be wondering what I'm doing when I'm not working on my operating systems lab projects. Well, I am studying for my operating systems exam. I set up a personal wiki for that purpose with Wiki on a Stick. By the way, I learned a bit of the wiki syntax, so I will most probably make a good use of it soon.

I am so looking forward for this semester to be over. The operating systems are a real pain-in-the-brain (and a legend in my school). All I wish for right now is pass. They're not my biggest passion, they don't inspire me to anything (ever wondered why there is no post here starting with "hey guys, did you know that the slab allocator..."?). How I long for some high-level programming... And some "code what you want" programming... I fortunately will have those next semester.

So the exam is tomorrow. On Friday, there's the correcting codes exam. I'll start studying revising after the OS. Today is Ash Wednesday. Fasting when you're supposed to study as hard as you can is not cool. (Okay, fasting is not supposed to be cool, by definition.) There's no milk and I can't stand coffee without it... poor little me studying computer science, forced by... er... wait... That's it! I can quit, not have to study OS and have time to buy milk! Still, there's a reason I'm much better off the way things are (better by far).

05 February 2008

Flag the bastard! (with cool Firefox add-ons)

I listed my blog on a few blog toplists and decided to see what other interesting blogs are there. One of these sites didn't have an "adults only" section and among the top blogs, many had inappropiate content. I decided to flag them a little bit. Now please don't give me the tolerance speech, flagging a blog doesn't send the authors straight down to hell, see here or here.

The rules are simple: bloggers are free to blog about what they want, readers are free to flag them. Cool. But one of the bloggers disabled the navbar. I'm pretty sure he didn't do it for estethical reasons, as he didn't care for a nice blog template. I felt my right to flag has been violated. I got angry. The dude had to get flagged. But how?

First thing to do, RTFM. A help group led me to The Real Blogger Status, who advised to make a bookmark to the URL "javascript:toggleFlag();". I was too lazy to make a bookmark and only copy-pasted the command in the navigation bar using that blog as a lab rat (intending to unflag it right away, of course). Failed. Still to lazy to make the bookmark and afraid the solution might be outdated, I decided to find my own way.

What is the navbar anyway? Normally speaking, the navigation bar at the top where you can search or flag the blog for example.
Geek speaking:

1. Click down here to activate Colorzilla.
2. Move the cursor here to find out what it is.
3. Get the answer from here: div#b-navbar. So it's called "navbar" and is placed in this div.

Okay, now to the bastard blog. In the Web Developer Toolbar, let's pick "CSS", then "Edit CSS".
What to we have here:

1. Inappropriate content (blurred, kids are reading).
2. No navbar to flag it!
3. A "navbar" iframe (I guess it's in the div mentionned above.) with the "display" property set to "none".

So what did I do?
1. Of course, changed the "display" property. Removing it didn't help, but setting it to "block" did.
2. Flagged the bastard!

I'm not saying it's the best or easiest way or anything. However, Colorzilla and Web Developer Toolbar are definitely cool to have.

04 February 2008

Microsoft strikes again

I learned that Microsoft bid $44 billion for Yahoo!. What wouldn't they do to divert attention from the concerning facts I wrote about recently.

Anyway, good for Yahoo!, I guess. They definitely need some refreshement, judging by how the page http://features.yahoo.com/webceleb/britney/ looks like. (Not even a menu! That's wrong, even for April 1999!)

Carnivore frog and fish don't live well togehter

My brother's aquarium some time ago: a carnivore frog and fish of different species, sizes and colours.
My brother's aquarium now: a carnivore frog, two big fish and a third one hiding in the leaves.

Here's what happened in between:

What also happened, is that Bro brought worms for the frog. A month ago. Unfortunately, he lost them somewhere and they only have been found today. In the car. Imagine the smell.

In the meantime, the poor hungry animal ate half the aquarium.

02 February 2008

On my wishlist: a chocolate keyboard


Okay, there is no reason to wish for a chocolate keyboard but one: it's geek. Besides that, I prefer normal chocolate, cause it tastes the same and is cheaper. And it does exist. (Existance is a really important quality of chocolate.)
Still, I love it, it's so geek!

Not as cool, but also interesting: the Chocolate Scrabble.

This one does exist!
[Source, source]

01 February 2008

Microsoft encourages bad behaviour

I am really concerned about Microsoft's influence on the youth nowadays. It openly encourages swearing and drinking.

I was once using Microsoft Visual Studio and look what I saw in the documentation:

At least, the f-word wasn't entirely written, still, everyone knows what the word is.

The following story is also very concerning:

***Welcome to MSN Support***
<MSN Assistant> Hello how can I help?
<Divination> I recently downloaded msn 6.2 and it has been giving me problems…
<MSN Assistant> Yes, please continue.
<Divination> I can’t stop drinking I think I’ve turned into an alcoholic…
*MSN Assistant has left the conversation.

Not only MSN made this young person drink, which is scandalous in itself, but the corporation denied all responsibility and refused giving any help. What a wrong example for the youth!